Gov. Ige Intends to Veto Six Bills
Governor David Ige notified legislative leaders and key lawmakers on Monday of his intent to veto six measures. The Hawai‘i State Constitution requires the governor to notify the Legislature of the bills he intends to veto not later than the 35th day after adjournment, which was on Monday, Aug. 31.
On Sept. 15, any measure that the governor has not signed or not vetoed will become law without his signature.
The Governor’s Intent to Veto List includes the following items:
HB1523 RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION BUDGET
This measure provides funding to the Department of Education utilizing Coronavirus Air, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding to purchase devices for schools with student populations of fifty per cent or greater or reduced price lunch for the period from July 1, 20202 to December 30, 2020.
Rationale: The governor says this measure is not necessary as the Department of Education has received funds via the governor’s discretionary funding for this purpose which does not limit the schools that are eligible.
HB1846 RELATING TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY
This bill mandates that all State facilities with an area of ten thousand square feet or more (not including Aloha Stadium) implement all cost-effective energy efficiency measures by January 1, 2024; that the State Energy Office be tasked with collecting all utility bill and energy usage data for state-owned facilities monthly and making such information available in a publicly accessible format; and that beginning July 1, 2020, if feasible and cost-effective, designs for all new state building construction must maximize energy and water efficiency, energy generation potential, and use of building materials that reduce the project’s carbon footprint.
Rationale: Gov. Ige said the State is already in the process of implementing the energy efficiency changes that the bill addresses. He said, “The bill does not clearly define energy efficiency and the word “all” creates a possibly unrealistic expectation that could open the State to lawsuits. Additionally, there are concerns that contractors employed under this legislation will be able to benefit from both the contract paid for by tax-payer dollars as well as tax credits associated with the kind of work done with no assurance that the overall cost of the project will be adjusted appropriately.”
HB2124 RELATING TO THE CODE OF ETHICS
This measure Amends the State Ethics Code to prohibit the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and other high-level government officials from representing any person or business for a fee or other compensation regarding any legislative or administrative action for 12 months after termination from respective position.
Rationale: Gov. Ige said the additional restrictions put on volunteer boards and commissions members who fulfill an important role in protecting our community through their service “will make it significantly more challenging to recruit for already difficult to fill positions.”
SB2206 RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS
This bill authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources to issue revocable month-to-month temporary permits for the emergency sheltering of homeless persons on state lands up until ninety days after the emergency relief period specified in the Governor’s final Supplementary Proclamation relating to the COVID-19 emergency, irrespective of any separate proclamation terminating the disaster emergency relief period in the Governor’s final Supplementary Proclamation relating to the COVID-19 emergency.
Rationale: Under emergency proclamation, Gov. Ige says he already has the ability to take the necessary actions to implement the purpose of this bill. “As written this bill exposes the state to liability,” he said.
SB2523 RELATING TO PUBLIC SAFETY
This requires the Department of Public Safety to expand certain appropriated funds during fiscal year 2020-2021 for the community-based work furlough program for female inmates.
Rationale: “The measure is not required because the Department of Public Safety is already in the process of awarding a contract to a community-based furlough program,” said Gov. Ige. “Furthermore, enacting this measure would jeopardize public safety as it restricted the department from expending payroll and operating costs.”
SB2638 RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
This bill establishes a 5-year pilot program intended to strengthen government response to domestic violence and increase offender accountability; amends the offense of abuse of family or household members to provide for a petty misdemeanor offense; allows a deferred acceptance of guilty or no contest plea in cases involving petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor abuse offenses; requires the court to revoke the defendant’s probation or set aside the defendant’s deferred acceptance of guilty plea and enter an adjudication of guilt in specific instances outlined.
Rationale: Currently any person convicted of an abuse offense is prohibited from owning or possessing any firearm. “Of grave concern with this bill is that abusers who are granted and complete a term of deferral would not be subject to the firearm prohibition because a deferral is not a conviction. This would allow abusers to own and possess a firearm,” said Gov. Ige.
Coronavirus Air, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Spend Plan
On July 31, 2020, Gov. Ige returned SB126 with line item vetoes. Of the $321 million that was struck from the bill the Governor intends to utilize the funding for the following priorities:
- Funding for State share of disaster response, as required by law
- Expanded supplies of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for entities that were not identified in the bill
- Public health education
- Personnel, testing and tracing related to the pandemic response
- Expanded capabilities of the public safety facilities and personnel to include, but not limited to treatment and quarantine facilities, medical staff and enhanced cleaning activities
- Additional support to counties for programs supporting residents and businesses
- Pay back to the unemployment trust fund to help reduce the burden to businesses
House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki said, “The House Democratic Caucus will meet to discuss the Governor’s list. We will also consult with the Senate leadership concerning the possibility of convening an override session if any bills are actually vetoed. If an override session is not held, any vetoed measures can be reintroduced in the 2021 legislative session. We will use this interim to address the Governor’s objections to vetoed bills.”
According to the Hawai‘i State Constitution, the Legislature may convene before noon on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, for the sole purpose of acting upon any such bill returned by the Governor.
On Sept. 15, 2020, any measure passed during the 2020 legislative session that has not been signed or vetoed by Governor Ige will become law with or without his signature.